I’ve enjoyed the Fourth of July for as long as I can remember. I think I actually slept through my first one though, because I was not quite a week old at the time. I’m sure I cried through some after that, too. I used to cherish sitting with relatives around the bonfire by my grandparents’ house late at night, roasting marshmallows. I miss being able to do that. Now I look forward to the fun of cookouts and parades, the delicious food, and the unwavering patriotism everywhere. Of course, having the day off for the holiday is wonderful too!
The best part of the day for me, though, is watching fireworks with those I love. It’s a very beautiful and moving experience. Some of my best July 4th fireworks experiences involved people who were new to the event. I loved to see the excitement and awe on their faces, and feel it in my heart. It’s there every year. However, it was even more special when I spent it with my children when I was able to watch each of them really see the fireworks display for the first time. Not when they were really small and cried because of the scary noise and flashing lights, but when they were just old enough to enjoy and be captivated by them. It was priceless. Watching each of my young children gaze in wonder and surprise at something so majestic captured my attention even more than the brilliant displays of sight, color, and sounds overhead. I had the pleasure of doing that with all three of them.
I sadly thought that special era would be behind me after they got a little older, but I am very happy I was wrong. After my divorce, I met and married someone from another country. I enjoyed all of his ‘firsts’, which included attending his first fireworks display. Again, I ended up watching a person’s face more than the sky for the holiday evening event. It’s a similar but somewhat different experience to watch an adult encounter something so amazing and wonderful for the first time. I feel privileged to have been able to see all four of those loved ones be taken in by the fireworks presentations and watch them with such utter astonishment.
Even after that, the excitement still wasn’t over! Several years ago, I had the rare and special privilege of attending the Fourth of July fireworks display with my husband just days before he was scheduled for his citizenship oath ceremony. That’s something not many people have the opportunity to do. The only thing to top that was going the following year, for his first Independence Day as an actual United States citizen.
Being part of these experiences with the people I love so much has been a wonderful honor that has greatly enriched my life and has even strengthened my sense of patriotism. I thank God for the opportunities, such as these, that I was given. They’ve touched my heart and soul, and I will never forget any of them.